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#53902 - 14 Jun 07 18:27 Futility of Appeasement
riccardo Offline
Pujangga

Registered: 12 Oct 05
Posts: 2195
Loc: Jakarta
Balibo inquest shows the futility of appeasement
By Bruce Haigh - posted Thursday, 14 June 2007

The New South Wales coronial inquest into the killing of five journalists in East Timor in 1975 has achieved far more than earlier government inquiries into the deaths.

The Deputy NSW Coroner, Dorelle Pinch, has been able to uncover facts that other investigations could not, and the inquest has confirmed the cover-up engaged in by successive Australian governments.

This cover-up was maintained through a loose consensus of foreign policy-makers, known as the pro-Jakarta lobby, including public servants in the Department of Foreign Affairs, politicians, journalists, academics and businessmen.

It came into being and was maintained to try and protect the Indonesian government from adverse commentary and scrutiny which it was felt might damage a fragile relationship. This policy amounted to appeasement and brought few rewards.

Maintenance of the policy included sweeping under the carpet Indonesian military atrocities in Aceh, Flores, East Timor and West Papua and complicity in military corruption.

There were three previous inquiries. The first was conducted in 1976 by an official from Foreign Affairs, Alan Taylor, which reiterated Indonesian denials and regurgitated publicly available information that the deaths by shooting were accidental.

Under pressure, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer instituted an inquiry in 1996 by the former head of the National Crime Authority, Tom Sherman; it concluded that the five had been killed by crossfire.

This finding did not satisfy those outside the pro-Jakarta lobby and under further pressure Downer, in 1999, again whistled up Sherman, who surprisingly came to the same conclusion, although adding the useful rider that if the journalists had been murdered it was the result of a blunder.

The coronial inquest lays bare the Australian attempt to get Indonesia off the hook over the cruel and calculated murder of five journalists done in an attempt to hide the Indonesian invasion of East Timor. It also exposes the shallowness and expediency of the policy of appeasement peddled by the pro-Jakarta lobby.

However, it fights on under the patronage of Downer who apparently urged NSW law authorities not to serve the visiting Governor of Jakarta, Sutiyoso, with a subpoena to appear before the coroners court. A police request to do so was met with flight and anger expressed on his return home which prompted the NSW Premier, Morris Iemma, to apologise, no doubt on advice from Downer.

Given what has transpired at the coroners court, I would have thought that Indonesia should be apologising to the families of the victims and the Australian people. Imagine the fuss if the boot was on the other foot.

Indonesian forces invaded East Timor on October 7, 1975. The five Australian journalists were murdered on October 16 in Balibo.

They have long been referred to as journalists but in fact they were war correspondents. The reason they went to Balibo was because they, along with other members of the media, intelligence, defence and foreign affairs officials, were convinced that Indonesia would invade East Timor. I spoke briefly to Greg Shackleton before he went to East Timor and that was the gist of the conversation.

Why they have never been accorded the status of war correspondents presumably rests with the fact that Australia has for so long tried to demonise them, blame them for their own deaths and accord them the role of non-persons, not deserving the protection or respect of the Australian government.

Well they do. They were five brave young Australians dedicated to exposing the truth and by doing so perhaps prevent a great injustice to the people of East Timor.

If the Government can put money into finding the Australian World War I submarine AE1, if it can put money into bringing back the bodies of two formerly missing Vietnam veterans, it can put money into bringing back from Indonesia the bodies of Gary Cunningham, Greg Shackleton, Malcolm Rennie, Anthony Stewart and Brian Peters.

They should be posthumously awarded the Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal and an appropriate memorial erected in Canberra which might go some way towards making amends for 32 years of Australian government vilification and denial.

National self-esteem demands nothing less. If a nation cannot honour its heroes it will slowly decay from within. In 2000 I wrote in my book The Great Australian Blight, that the reason the bodies of the newsmen were not brought to Australia for burial was because of fears a funeral would stir up anti-Indonesian sentiment.

This should not now be the excuse for not bringing them home and honouring them.

The only way to develop a strong long term[sic] relationship with Indonesia is on the basis of honest exchanges, anything else has a well demonstrated[sic] propensity to unravel with negative results.

Australians are angry at their war correspondents having been shot by members of the Indonesian Army and they should be told so.

The coronial inquest has demonstrated that the Taylor and Sherman inquiries were fundamentally flawed. Where does this leave the Flood inquiries into the intelligence services, refugee detention camps and the Cole inquiry into the AWB?

There is a lesson in this for the Howard Government: eventually the truth will out.
_________________________
Just here proffering my pearls to swine, my throat to wolves and my trousers to the flagpole.

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#53905 - 14 Jun 07 19:26 Re: Futility of Appeasement [Re: riccardo]
KuKuKaChu Moderator Offline
Pooh Bah

Registered: 09 Oct 05
Posts: 10790
Loc: Centre of the Universe
Quoting: riccardo
This cover-up was maintained through a loose consensus of foreign policy-makers, known as the pro-Jakarta lobby,

jakarta lobby?? yeah, right.

see http://www.okusi.net/garydean/works/jaklob.html
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KuKuKaChu: dangerously too sophisticated

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#53908 - 14 Jun 07 21:17 Re: Futility of Appeasement [Re: KuKuKaChu]
Patung Offline
Member++

Registered: 11 Mar 06
Posts: 234
Loc: Indonesia
"The Myth of the 'Jakarta Lobby'" I don't really see any evidence in that article that the 'Jakarta Lobby' is mythical, just stuff about a journalist and the dismissal.
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#53914 - 15 Jun 07 06:46 Re: Futility of Appeasement [Re: Patung]
KuKuKaChu Moderator Offline
Pooh Bah

Registered: 09 Oct 05
Posts: 10790
Loc: Centre of the Universe
Quoting: Patung
"The Myth of the 'Jakarta Lobby'" I don't really see any evidence in that article that the 'Jakarta Lobby' is mythical, just stuff about a journalist and the dismissal.

exactly. it doesn't exist.
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KuKuKaChu: dangerously too sophisticated

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#53918 - 15 Jun 07 07:14 Re: Futility of Appeasement [Re: KuKuKaChu]
riccardo Offline
Pujangga

Registered: 12 Oct 05
Posts: 2195
Loc: Jakarta
Indeed, your article doesn't address the 'Jakarta Lobby' at all, but it is a good example of a foreign correspondent being typically naive about this country and wanting to put things in black/white, good/evil terms.

Whether or not there is a formal body called the Jakarta Lobby, you'll have to admit that gov't after gov't in Canberra has been consistently appeasing RI's abuses, blunders and criminal behavior.

Given what has transpired at the coroners court, I would have thought that Indonesia should be apologising to the families of the victims and the Australian people. Imagine the fuss if the boot was on the other foot.

I can very easily imagine the fuss
_________________________
Just here proffering my pearls to swine, my throat to wolves and my trousers to the flagpole.

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#53919 - 15 Jun 07 07:25 Re: Futility of Appeasement [Re: riccardo]
KuKuKaChu Moderator Offline
Pooh Bah

Registered: 09 Oct 05
Posts: 10790
Loc: Centre of the Universe
it's hard to prove somethings non-existence ...
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KuKuKaChu: dangerously too sophisticated

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#53931 - 15 Jun 07 11:14 Re: Futility of Appeasement [Re: riccardo]
Patung Offline
Member++

Registered: 11 Mar 06
Posts: 234
Loc: Indonesia
Quoting: riccardo
Whether or not there is a formal body called the Jakarta Lobby, you'll have to admit that gov't after gov't in Canberra has been consistently appeasing RI's abuses, blunders and criminal behavior.


I don't know if anyone claims there is a formal body called the "Jakarta Lobby", with a Central Committee and secret handshakes, just a general movement of pro-Indonesia opinion in the government and foreign office, particularly in the past.
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#53932 - 15 Jun 07 11:29 Re: Futility of Appeasement [Re: Patung]
KuKuKaChu Moderator Offline
Pooh Bah

Registered: 09 Oct 05
Posts: 10790
Loc: Centre of the Universe
Quoting: Patung
Quoting: riccardo
Whether or not there is a formal body called the Jakarta Lobby, you'll have to admit that gov't after gov't in Canberra has been consistently appeasing RI's abuses, blunders and criminal behavior.


I don't know if anyone claims there is a formal body called the "Jakarta Lobby", with a Central Committee and secret handshakes, just a general movement of pro-Indonesia opinion in the government and foreign office, particularly in the past.

the jakarta lobby is for the main a figment of the imagination of journalists, led by the (once) influential Brian Toohey. australian journalists just regurgitate whatever their "seniors" have written in the past, reinforcing lies and half-truths and thereby elevating them to the status of "facts".

yes, there are people in DFAT positively disposed to Indonesia; there are just as many who are blindly hostile and xenophobic; and there are plenty of "real politik" people too, who see it as their duty to advance the interests of the australian state over all other interests.
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KuKuKaChu: dangerously too sophisticated

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#53933 - 15 Jun 07 11:35 Re: Futility of Appeasement [Re: KuKuKaChu]
Patung Offline
Member++

Registered: 11 Mar 06
Posts: 234
Loc: Indonesia
"and there are plenty of "real politik" people too, who see it as their duty to advance the interests of the australian state over all other interests."

I vote for them. My impression of australians, when I meet them, is that they are stoopid, but in a nice way usually, but I hope there are enough of the realpolitik types to balance things out or prove me wrong.
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#53941 - 15 Jun 07 12:44 Re: Futility of Appeasement [Re: Patung]
chewwyUK Offline
Pujangga

Registered: 14 Sep 06
Posts: 2392
Loc: Jakarta
kuku --- you seem very animated on this subject. Are you sure you are not the leader of this "jakarta lobby"? Seems to me like you are trying to cover things up ... I always thought ric was a paranoid shit stirrer who got off on controversy, but maybe he has been right all along.

come on show us your secret handshake .....
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Edited by Piss Salon
Edit Reason: taste

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#53943 - 15 Jun 07 13:00 Re: Futility of Appeasement [Re: chewwyUK]
KuKuKaChu Moderator Offline
Pooh Bah

Registered: 09 Oct 05
Posts: 10790
Loc: Centre of the Universe
Quoting: chewwyUK
kuku --- you seem very animated on this subject. Are you sure you are not the leader of this "jakarta lobby"? Seems to me like you are trying to cover things up ... I always thought ric was a paranoid shit stirrer who got off on controversy, but maybe he has been right all along.

come on show us your secret handshake .....

not animated, just annoyed when i read such crap being dutifully regurgitated by lazy journo morons playing to their audience/editors prejudices.

it saddens me to have to admit that i remember these events probably better than anyone here, as well as being intimate with the particular political circumstances around and after the time of the invasion.

the big story of 1975 was not East Timor, it was Whitlam and November 11, and this remained the case for at least the following 3 years.

and there was certainly no "jakarta lobby" then; there was only fear and ignorance of asia. in the minds of most australians of that time, indonesia was just some place you flew over on your way to London. (remember, this was a mere few years after one of the biggest massacres of all time, in Indonesia).

East Timor only became "issuefied" by the australian "left" years after the event; and until then there was certainly almost zero political support in the electorate for East Timor. as i said, by the time people woke up to the fact that maybe they cared, it was far too late for the australian govt to demand withdrawal.

thus realpolitik. sure, there was probably some acquiescence on the part of the australian govt at the time of the invasion, mostly because indonesia was viewed as an amorphous chaotic mass that no-one gave a fuck about, much less the electorate.

but a jakarta lobby? no. just a bunch of people trying to muddle through a political mess as best they could.

_________________________
KuKuKaChu: dangerously too sophisticated

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#53979 - 16 Jun 07 15:20 Re: Futility of Appeasement [Re: KuKuKaChu]
Gren Offline
Member

Registered: 24 Oct 06
Posts: 21
Loc: Jakarta
So where are the indignant PC responses to Kukukachu's outrageous assertions? I've come to expect more from people here. :-)

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#53980 - 16 Jun 07 15:44 Re: Futility of Appeasement [Re: Gren]
riccardo Offline
Pujangga

Registered: 12 Oct 05
Posts: 2195
Loc: Jakarta
indignant PC response? Thankfully, PC-ness is very rare around here. I'm still trying figure out which of his assertions is anti-PC. Wrong? Yes. Anti-PC? Don't see it.
_________________________
Just here proffering my pearls to swine, my throat to wolves and my trousers to the flagpole.

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#54015 - 17 Jun 07 08:01 Re: Futility of Appeasement [Re: riccardo]
Dilli Offline
Pujangga Besar

Registered: 26 Feb 06
Posts: 8044
Loc: Nearest Bar
Whats with Political Correctness on this site! I've never encountered any at any time here!

I thought it was mandatory to shun PC-ness and go for the jugular when posting!
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#54629 - 25 Jun 07 13:38 Re: Futility of Appeasement [Re: Dilli]
naga Offline
Member++

Registered: 18 Jan 07
Posts: 260
Loc: undisclosed location
"the jakarta lobby is for the main a figment of the imagination of journalists, led by the (once) influential Brian Toohey."

The 'Jakarta Lobby' is a core of long serving public servants who hold/held key positions within DFAT and the Intelligence Services (namely ASIS and DIO).

The term did not originate from any journalist, it came from several long serving disgruntled military, civilian intelligence and DFAT officers who were sick of seeing successive governments cave-in at every petulant RI govt tantrum. The term has been bandied around Canberra for a long time within these circles.

It must be re-iterated that Australia's intelligence services (both civilian and military) are headed by public servants loyal to the govt; they are not led by long-serving intelligence personnel who actually know what they are doing and can provide impartial advice; this has been a deliberate tactic of the Howard govt in particular.

"My impression of australians, when I meet them, is that they are stoopid, but in a nice way usually, but I hope there are enough of the realpolitik types to balance things out or prove me wrong. "

Stoopid? what both of them that you met?

hello kettle, this is pot........

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#54702 - 26 Jun 07 13:54 Re: Futility of Appeasement [Re: naga]
kenyeung Offline
Pujangga

Registered: 16 Apr 07
Posts: 2374
Loc: Indonesia
Um, best not to go down this path naga, because lengthy delays are expected due to road work.

Thanks.

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